I am on the cusp of writing a long and awful newsletter or two about where we stand with climate change and the very long odds we have of making any meaningful effort to curb our emissions. Currently, I am just too damn burnt out and busy to write that, though. Instead, a shorter but still bad newsletter about all the shitty things that are happening, happened, or will happen.
The Supreme Court Knows What White Dudes Mean When They Say "The Good Ol' Days" and They Agree That They Were, in Fact, Good
What it says on the tin: The Supreme Court has issued a series of really depressing, really regressive rulings this past week. First among them was the ruling against Affirmative Action (except for certain military schools). This ruling ends Affirmative Action, citing the extant 14th Amendment which provided equal protection under the law and has obviously been doing a fantastic job so far, hence Affirmative Action. Now, to put some salt in the wound, Chief Justice Roberts stated that military academies are exempt from this, because it is necessary that military leadership reflect the diversity of the corps. Representative Jason Crow put it well when he said that "The court is saying diversity shouldn’t matter, EXCEPT when deciding who can fight and die for our country—reinforcing the notion that these communities can sacrifice for America but not be full participants in every other way."
In addition, the Court ruled that businesses are effectively allowed to discriminate against LGBTQIA+ folks. The origins of the case are just as ridiculous as possible: a business owner in Colorado decided that they might want to, at some point, make wedding websites–but didn't want to sell said websites to queer people. She wanted to make that statement on her business, but Colorado law prohibits the exclusion of protected classes from businesses. So, because this person theoretically might want to deny a couple from buying a website from her, the Supreme Court has stated that such a law denies her freedom of speech. The dissenting justices argued, obviously, that such a ruling opens the door for further discrimination of LGBTQIA+ folks, and for the obvious next step–discriminating against others based on race.
And while I wouldn't typically talk about student loans forgiveness and the denial thereof, I think it's actually germaine to our overall conversation. The Supreme Court has ruled that Biden does not have the authority to forgive student debt, at least through his initial method, which means that the millions of people who owe nearly two trillion dollars of debt are still yoked to that weight. Now, there is an obvious incentive for people in power to want commoners to be in debt--it keeps us struggling. Struggling folks don't have the time or energy to march with pitchforks (or what have you). Thus perpetuating the rule of those in power.
Last Week I Didn't See the Sky for Three Days Straight
The smoke from Canadian wildfires swept across the Midwest again. This time around, it was bad enough that I wound up with a bit of a cough and a lingering wheeze at night–low-grade asthmatic here–and I found that pretty distressing. Anywhere from 7-9 million people die annually due to pollution, and like all things, climate change only exacerbates that. At its peak, the ambient air pollution was the equivalent of smoking six cigarettes per day. You can't get me drunk enough to smoke one cigarette, anymore, so.
That wildfire smoke lingered across a fair portion of the country, and virtually anywhere else in the US, there was an excessive heat warning. Texas has suffered the most, with a lingering heat dome only recently dropping below triple digits. This kind of heat is lethal, and we're lucky that Texas' world-renowned power grid was up to the task for this emergency. Even with the power on, leaders like Texas' Governor Abbott will ensure that events like this are still lethal.
Funnily enough, the few regions not baking or being smoked out were mostly enduring heavy storms. Montana was recently hit with heavy rain and hail, and several storm systems worked eastward amid the smoke , delivering more rain, hail, and a few tornadoes. This kind of weather is generally reserved for late May/early June. It's been a weird summer.
In the coming weeks, I want to take a break from covering current events (which invariably means something awful will happen that we'll need to address) and start looking at our work in preparedness from a fresh perspective. I've always said, from the start of this project, that being a leftist prepper means something wildly different from just being a prepper–it means being in a position of readiness to help, not just to survive. Mutual aid, while not my area of expertise, is something I have always encouraged and something that I think is absolutely essential to our well-being today and in the future. And as I brought in collapse as a subject to this mix, I think that the final step in my survival thesis should be introduced.
Whereas we began as individuals prepping to survive crisis, and moved on to discuss being resources to our communities in times of collapse, we end by remaking society entirely–into something equitable, sustainable, and enjoyable. That may seem like a far walk from the humble beginnings of buying beans and jugs of water, but it's where we'll wind up, I think, whether we want to or not. So it's time we start having that talk.